Benefits & Services

The NYS Council offers our members a wide range of training and technical assistance opportunities based on the unique needs of mental health and substance use organizations.  We host an Annual Business and Training Meeting each year in October.  In addition, we offer many webinars on topics of importance throughout the year, and we hold regional meetings in NYC, Rochester, and on Long Island on a quarterly basis.

The NYS Council is widely known for our ability to collect, synthesize and share information and analysis with our members.  We provide accurate, time sensitive, high priority information to key member agency leaders on local, state, and federal issues impacting our field.  We analyze state and federal budget proposals, decipher legislation and regulations, and advise our members on a host of policies and procedures impacting their businesses.  John Kastan, NYS Council Board President, and Lauri Cole, NYS Council Executive Director, both serve on the Board of Directors of the National Council for Behavioral Healthcare assuring our members voices will be heard in Washington, D.C. and around the nation.

The Council prides itself on our ability to implement advocacy strategies in support of the activities of our members and the care recipients they serve each day.  Most recently, the NYS Council drafted legislation and implemented a successful advocacy campaign designed to extend payment of APG rates to mental health and substance abuse outpatient providers through March, 2016 rather than through March 2014 as proposed in the Governor’s SFY 2013 executive budget proposal. In addition to our request for payment of consistent rates during the early days of behavioral health managed care, we pressed for and ultimately secured an agreement that requires state government to monitor managed care organizations and to require them to meet standards and measure critical indicators including:  network adequacy, continuity of care, rate viability, access to care, service penetration, and other critical measures.

Value Added Deliverables 

Our Commitment to Customer Service

We will always return your call promptly – most of the time the same day.   We circle back and close the loop.  We NEVER leave you hanging or wondering if you are a priority.

We get to know your unique programs and services and the issues you face.  If your agency faces an issue that is not within the typical scope of our work but one where we think we can help, we will remember your issue and send you information and analysis on that issue, find you a contact or a consultant who can help, and hang in there with you until your issue is resolved.

Our relationships

The NYS Council enjoys longstanding positive relationships with key leaders at the New York State Department of Health (DOH), Office of Mental Health (OMH), Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG).  We have strong relationships with key leaders in the Administration and the NYS Health Benefits Exchange. The Council is viewed by government insiders as a smart, effective organization that acts with integrity in all matters and gets things done.

Two Memberships for the Price of One

All NYS Council members receive a full membership with the National Council for Behavioral Healthcare, widely regarded as the premiere national advocacy organization representing mental health and substance use providers across the country.  Check out their website at:

External Government Relations Consultants with a proven track record of success on both sides of the legislative aisle

The NYS Council retains Reid, McNally and Savage, LLP, a respected external government relations consulting firm based in Albany to assist us with our legislative and budget priorities.